CONTENT GUIDANCE: This book explores aspects of mental health challenges and contains depictions of self-harm, physical and sexual abuse. These aspects may be difficult for some readers. Please read with care.
The Shaping of a Diamond is a poetic journey through the most emotional moments of author Desiree Batiste’s life. Life cut deep, and Desiree was beaten down repeatedly throughout her life. But with each facet, she became the diamond she is today. From childhood through present day, from surviving child abuse to heartbreak, having kids, domestic violence, divorce and mental health issues – The Shaping of a Diamond leaves out nothing and is a raw, uncensored look at the pain which shaped, inspired, and pushed her to her limits, as well as the moments which healed and saved her. This compilation of poems written by Desiree over a 27-year period contains works from the following genres: Motivational, Emotive, Adult, Inspirational/Uplifting, Moods, Romance, Death/Loss, Spirituality and Mental Illness Awareness. Desiree’s goal in sharing this book with the world was twofold: to provide healing and closure to herself for all of the traumatic experiences she endured and to provide strength, understanding, inspiration, motivation and encouragement to others who may find themselves currently in similar circumstances.
Trauma, sadness and loss have a tendency to make people feel like they are isolated and alone. It becomes harder to function and to carry on. By creating this book, Desiree has reached out to any and all people who have had similar experiences and feelings to let them know that ‘we are all in this together’. Her survival enabled her to achieve inner peace and start the wonderful life she has now, and she believes if she can achieve it, anyone else has same chance at peace and happiness. Rough patches in life do not have to dictate its permanent course: we, as individuals, do that.
These poems are all based in fact, and are feelings captured during the best or worst moments in Desiree’s life. As pain is often captured in the poems because they were written in the moment or soon following the moment, some of them are dark-themed and very raw in their emotion. The point of writing like this was to highlight those extreme human emotions – emotions which we all feel and share in common when we are hurt or we struggle – and reach out a metaphorical hand to all people out there. Her hope is that her poems may help others to be encouraged, inspired, uplifted and save them some of the painful struggles she went through during the darkest times of her life. Desiree also hopes her words inspire people to open up and talk or write about their own painful and joyous moments. Life will continue to surprise us, test us and devastate us. It is what we choose to do with those moments that will make a difference – for each individual, for each life…the venue of expression is yours. Desiree’s hope for each and every person who reads The Shaping of a Diamond is that they find answers, comfort, peace, joy…and to know that there is at least one “someone” out there that understands what they are going through, and cares. Where feelings can be shared, one is never alone.
The Shaping of a Diamond is a collection of poems by Desiree Batiste that covers memorable moments from childhood to now. Desiree speaks openly and honestly about depression, relationships, abuse, and hopes for the future. They didn’t pull any punches or sugarcoat anything, which I respect. Everything they’ve gone through, the good and the bad, have shaped them into the person they are today— on a path to a bright future.
Before eachfacet of the life (chapter), the author summarizes their life during these times. Facet 1: Childhood background information spoke of her father, a disabled Vietnam vet, and her abusive, unhinged mother. Her mother wasn’t always the villain in her life’s story. But when she became one, the child’s inner light became dimmer. I didn’t see a “trigger warning” disclaimer for facet one, but it needs one. The subject matter might be emotionally and psychologically difficult for some individuals to read. I was in tears throughout this first section, especially when reading “The Promise.” It touched me on a personal level.
As we enter her high school years, the author questions if God has it in for them (Things That Go Wrong). This is a common thought, a question when life seems to beat us down. We wonder if we did something in a past life to deserve this punishment. Does God hate us? What have we done, and why can’t we find happiness? Again, this is another poem that spoke volumes to me. During the poems connected to her “adulthood,” the writer sees God in a more positive light. Heaven will wash away their pain and sorrow. Religious people will agree as you walk through the pearly gates, all your pain, suffering, and sadness vanishes.
Facet 4: The Pit of Despair discusses the author’s relationships, beginning with “You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore.” Again, due to the subject matter, I must issue a trigger warning disclaimer. It might cause an extreme emotional response: PTSD, panic attacks, dark thoughts, etc. Again, in this section, I found myself reaching for Kleenexes. I lost my father, a serviceman, and reading “My Father’s Eyes” made me think of him and all he’s missed and will miss. Her “dream” made me cry even harder because she reminded me that even though my father was not beside me, at least he was not in pain anymore. That does give me some solace.
Desiree Batiste and I have many things in common, including how we escape from reality: music, dance, and writing (Facet 5: Sweet Escapes). All three quiet my mind when darkness takes root.
Though darkness is a common theme in the writings, Facet 6: A Love Story contains more uplighting poems, and my tear ducts thank you! It was nice to see the author found happiness, passion, and love. However, things took a dark turn in the next section. Family should be a tight-knit function, but hers is falling apart at the seams. Desiree is a strong woman, and it took an enormous amount of strength to handle everything life has thrown at her and for her to share her story with others.
She, like so many of us, carries scars from our past. They change us in ways we never imagined. But as she stated so eloquently, her turbulent past showed how “badass” she was. She’s a fighter, a dreamer, and, most importantly, a SURVIVOR.
Desiree’s story will inspire others to keep fighting, don’t give up hope for a brighter future. I encourage you to read it, but (again) remember that many areas contain possible triggers.
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Meet the Author